We are now well into 2013 and I have made up a collection of my 10 best photos from last year. 2012 was a great year for me. I had many fun trips and as usual these were the times where I primarily had the time and inspiration to shoot. The year started with three short ski raids to Chamonix and Tignes in January and also some ice climbing days in Switzerland. Easter was spend rock climbing in Göteborg and during the spring I had quite a few weekends on Swedish rock and also a fun trip to Nissedal in Norway. The summer began with a lovely two weeks road trip in Sweden with my girlfriend and afterwards three weeks of rock- and alpine climbing in Chamonix. Fall was a bit quieter on the travelling front but I did have a few days of rock climbing in Sweden, a wonderful week of sport- and multipitch-climbing on sunny Sicily and a relaxing weekend in Riga.
During these travels and adventures I did produce many photos that I’m satisfied with. The ones that I have chosen here is my personal favourites, which means that the photos might have been chosen because of the story behind or the associations I have to the photo and not necessarily because the photo is perfect in itself. Having said that, I do still hope these photos convey some of the feelings or expressions I had when taking the photos or simply the beauty of nature as I saw it.
I believe 2013 will be an interesting year. I finish my studies in Biochemistry and will begin a new chapter of my life which I don’t know what is yet. The photographic year will start off with a shoot of the adventure race Merell Kong Vinter next weekend and in just a month I will travel to Chilean Patagonia to shoot the long and hard adventure race Patagonia Expedition Race. I’m really looking forward to this journey and I’m also planning to climb on some of the world famous Patagonian granite spires.
Best wishes to a great new year and enjoy the photos below.
Nikolaj Hansen and Peter Maul at the summit of Hägefjell after having climbed Via Lara. Nissedal, Norway.
I went to Nissedal with my regular climbing partners Nikolaj and Peter in one of the first weekends of May. We were eager to get on some rock and we had for a long time talked about visiting the high granite dome of Hägefjell. After a long drive starting friday after work we arrived at lake Nisser next morning to find the weather very… grey. A bit disappointed we got a couple of hours sleep on the local village square and waked up to much better weather. Even though it was now a bit late to start on the route we stepped up on it and had a wonderful climb, all alone on this popular route. This photo shows the joy of being on a trip like this with good friends in beautiful surroundings – and it is the essence of what climbing is for me.
Simon Birkebæk on the summit of Aiguille du Moine. Chamonix, France.
I have been in Chamonix many times during the last years and I was back again a couple of times in 2012. It is simply a fantastic place for climbing and skiing and a quick look through my galleries will reveal that I also like to shoot photos when I’m there. I had three weeks in Chamonix in the summer and this climb of Aiguille du Moines south ridge was one of the highlights. It was a beautiful day, nice route and perfect granite the whole way. And it’s also nice to finish on a cool summit. Behind Simon is to the left the north face of Grandes Jorasses and to the right Mt. Blanc.
Simon Mariager climbs to the first summit of the Pointes Lachenal. Chamonix, France.
The photo is from the little alpine traverse of the three small summits called Pointes Lachenal close to Aguille du Midi. It’s not a spectacular climb but we still had a good time on it and it gives some nice views. The photo shows a lot of what alpine summer is about. I guess that huge sun helps with that!
First light of the day illuminates Mt. Blanc. Chamonix, France.
One of my favourite landscape photos of 2012. It shows Mt. Blanc and the surrounding mountains having turned orange in the first light of the day while night still covers the rest of the mountains and the valleys in the dark, blue pre-dawn light. It’s my favourite time of the day when being in the mountains and it always feels magical. We start the walks and climbs in complete darkness and slowly the beauty of the surroundings appear and it’s always very still. Still, clear and quiet in its own way. The photo is taken from the beginning of our climb of Aiguille du Moines south ridge which is highly recommended.
Nikolaj Hansen climbs ‘Highway 66′ at Lake Aspen. Göteborg, Sweden.
This is a photo from the Easter in Göteborg. As the sun was setting behind the lake, Nikolaj and Peter climbed the beautiful arête at the top of the Aspen cliff. I rapelled down a bit to the side on my own rope and took this photo of Nikolaj. I used a flash to balance the light as I was shooting against the sun. I all worked out very nicely I think, and it serves as a reminder to me that often it is just necessary to do little bit more work for the photos to get a result that is much better. Both Peter and Nikolaj led the arête but I didn’t. I often also find it necessary to sacrifice some of my own climbing time in order to get better climbing photos.
Jakob Fisker on the first pitch of ‘Sonam’ at Aiguilles des Envers. Chamonix, France.
I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Jakob Fisker and Simon Lund at the little granite gem of Aiguilles des Envers at Chamonix in the summer. There are a countless number of multipitch trad routes that looks amazing, and there is a nice and friendly mountain vibe around the refuge. A bit humbled by it all we wanted to start out with one of the easier routes in the area (according to the guidebook). It turned out that the first pitch of Sonam was no longer 5b but 6b due to glacial retreat in the latter years. We didn’t know that when Jakob started up it so therefore thought we were in a wrong place.. Even though we turned around before we got started for real I did get this photo that shows what is about at Aiguilles des Envers – the good granite and lots of it. We did climb two other great routes up there, though, and got a taste of the good climbing in the area, and it is one the places I hope to be back at in 2013.
Therese Adrian on a lovely beach near Härnösand, Sweden.
This photo reminds me of summer and it’s the only portrait in this post which probably reflects the fact that I don’t shoot many of them. I really like this one though, but my judgement may of course be affected since it features my girlfriend! It is from our great trip through Sweden in the summer and we had this lovely beach to ourself on a quiet summer evening.
A seascape sunset.
This is a very different photo from what I normally do. It is also from a wonderful summer evening, this time on the small Danish island of Askø where my parents have a holiday home. I played around on the beach trying different subjects and compositions and even though some of the photos were okay, I didn’t got what I wanted from the scene. I ended up with this photo after having played a bit with long shutter times while moving the camera at the same time. It might not reflect what the scene looked like as my initial photos, but it does reflect the feelings I had of the scene much better.
Nikolaj Hansen flashes “Bianca”, 6c, at Cambo Base near San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily.
This is another climbing photo that I really like. Nikolaj climbs “Bianca”, 6c, that is a thin and technical one. The photo shows how I remember Sicily – lots of cliffs next to the sea and very sunny. I love to be in the mountains but a sport climbing holiday like we had on Sicily is also great. It was all about having fun, eating good food, relaxing and climbing the routes that looked nice.
Star trails above Grandes Jorasses and climbers making the approach to its mighty north face.
Grandes Jorasses is an almost mythical mountain that you can see from many places in the Mont Blanc mountain range. It’s huge north face are 1000 meters high and it’s covered with hard routes and no easy. I took this photo in the middle of the night after a 15 hours day on the Traverse of Les Courtes. I must say it was a bit difficult to get out of my sleeping bag but I’m glad I did. It was a clear night with no wind and it was interesting to watch the light from the climbers on the glacier slowly approaching the mountain and I could almost feel the thrill and expectations they must have felt for the day to come.